Impressive display in vain as Sunderland U18s succumb to Manchester United revival

Sunderland made Manchester United fight hard for their third consecutive Under-18 Premier League Northern Division win at a wet and windy Carrington on Saturday, writes Neville Pilkington.

Monday, 30th October 2017, 4:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 3:34 am
Goalscorer Benji Kimpioka

The Wearsiders played well and were in control for much of the first half, and they went ahead with a wonderful team goal after 24 minutes.

A series of fast passes ended with Bali Mumba and Benji Kimpioka playing a one-two which saw Mumba go clear. He could probably have scored himself but unselfishly rolled the ball across to provide Kimpioka (pictured) with a tap-in.

It was nip and tuck for the rest of the half, with Sunderland always dangerous, mainly through Jack Diamond, but, after the break, the young Black Cats came under severe pressure.

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They held out until the 64th minute when United’s Nishan Burkat dinked the ball to the far post for Aidan Barlow to score.

Eight minutes later, the home side scored a second goal when Mason Greenwood finished with a strong shot after good work from Ethan Laird and Barlow.

Both Diamond and Jake Hackett were substituted as the pair were needed for yesterday’s Under-23s game, and their replacement rather disrupted the momentum of any potential comeback.

However, Kimpioka still forced a good save as Sunderland fought gamely and then Tom Howard’s super cross just evaded the onrushing attackers with only three minutes left as it ended 2-1 to the hosts.

Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson summed up by saying: “I was pleased with the performance, especially considering we played a third of the match with two Under-16 players –Bali Mumba and Sam Greenwood. It was a great team goal that we scored.”

Manchester Utd U18s: Fojticek, Laird (Mengi 83), Dunne, Barrett, B Williams, O’Connor (Garner 33), McGhee (Mellor 46), Levitt, Barlow, Greenwood; Burkart

Sunderland U18s: Patterson, Evans (Dunne 80), Young, Derbali, Kokola, Hackett (Howard 65), Hickey, Mumba, Best, Kimpioka, Diamond (Greenwood 60). Subs: Woud, Scothern